Consultation on Boleo Mine Will Not Have Binding EffectsBy Paloma Duran | Wed, 06/16/2021 - 09:32
Authorities announced that the consultation on the mining activities of Minera y Metalúrgica El Boleo and its environmental impact on nearby communities will not have a binding effect on SEMARNAT's decision to allow the expansion of its Boleo mine.
Minera y Metalúrgica El Boleo operates the El Boleo mine in Baja California Sur. Its construction began in 2010 and since 2015 it has produced copper, cobalt, zinc and manganese. In 2019, Minera Boleo requested to extend its environmental permit to cover an additional 446ha as its resources are running out.
The expansion project would have a duration of 16 years and an annual production of 30,000 tons of copper, 800 tons of cobalt and 1,187 tons of zinc sulfate monohydrate is expected. The company has highlighted the economic benefits that the mine is expected bring to the communities and the state. Currently, the company generates 1,283 direct jobs and 478 indirect jobs, which would cease to exist if SEMARNAT rejects the company's expansion plan.
In April, there was a controversy regarding the extension of the mine because President López Obrador said SEMARNAT rejected the petition since the company was requesting for more concessions. However, SEMARNAT said the president’s comments on the rejection of the request based on no new concessions being granted are incorrect, as the request is still pending. It was also explained that the company has the concession area, so no new concessions would be granted.
Many efforts have been made in order to understand the opinion of the communities regarding the possible expansion of the company and thus make a better decision. One of these efforts was the consultation that sought to gather more information about the concerns of the communities. However, head of SEMARNAT’s Social Participation and Transparency Unit, Daniel Quezada, said that the consultation will not impact SEMARNAT’s decision and that it is only an exercise within the framework of the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Citizen Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean, which entered into effect on April 22.
Quezada explained that the consultation consists of four stages. The first was a presentation of the expansion project, which has already been carried out and will be reviewed by the General Directorate of Environmental Impact and Risks; the second is a citizen assessment that will be held from June 13 to 17; the third stage is a questionnaire from June 18 to 20; and the fourth is the publication of the results on June 21.